Alicia Duggan of The Bookshop reviews Sarah J. Harris’ The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder
The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder is a crime mystery with a twist. The protagonist is 13-year-old Jasper who falls somewhere on the autistic spectrum, has face blindness and a condition called Synaesthesia which means Jasper sees sounds as colours. The only way he can identify people is by the unique colour of their voice.
The only person who really understood him was his mother who passed away when he was younger. Jasper’s father is left alone to raise him but doesn’t always understand or know how to connect with his son.
Bee Larkham arrives like a hurricane hitting land when she moves across the street from Jasper and his father. Jasper is immediately taken with this new neighbour whose voice is similar in colour to his late mother. She plays “Alien” music which creates vibrant colours for Jasper and puts out bird feeders to attract parakeets which become Jasper’s obsession.
When Bee Larkham is murdered Jasper sees her murder as “ice blue crystals with glittery edges and jagged silver icicles.” However, Jasper’s memories about the event are muddled. He needs to remember exactly what happened to Bee and understand his part in her death.
Alternating between present and past events the story is told from Jasper’s uniquely colourful perspective. An unusual take on the murder mystery genre, Sarah J. Harris’s debut novel is so fresh and different that I found myself captivated.
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